Addressing Atlanta: The WrestleMania 27 Report Card
Occasionally in society, we joke about certain actions that display emotion, more specifically, disappointment. For example, if somebody says something unintelligent, one may perform a "face-palm," and shake their head.
When this action is legitimate though, there may be a problem. A Georgia Dome-sized problem.
WrestleMania XXVII has come and passed, undoubtedly leaving a cloud of clustered mess and head-scratching behind. Yet how did each match perform individually?
United States Championship Match: Daniel Bryan vs. Sheamus (c)
"A great match, held down by the pure athleticism and talent of these two up-and comers."
That is, of course, what I planned to write about this match before it even aired. The problem was, it never did. Vince McMahon and his creative board decided to bump this match off the card, into a pre-show dark match (which ultimately turned into a pointless battle royal), in order to give the main events on the card more time. In doing so, they removed two of the most rising performers in the company off the card.
So, no U.S. Title defended, leaving two championships to be defended in the main events.
What was the best match of the night?
World Heavyweight Championship Match: Alberto Del Rio (with Brodus Clay and Ricardo Rodriguez) vs. Edge (c) (with Christian)
Edge vs. Alberto Del Rio0%
Cody Rhodes vs. Rey Mysterio0%
Kane, Big Show, Santino Marella, and Kofi Kingston vs. The Corre0%
Randy Orton vs. CM Punk0%
Michael Cole vs. Jerry Lawler0%
The Undertaker vs. Triple H0%
Snooki, Trish Stratus, and John Morrison vs. LayCool and Dolph Ziggler0%
The Miz vs. John Cena0%
What was the best match of the night?
The majesty of winning the Royal Rumble is that the winner is not only entitled to a championship match at WrestleMania, but the opportunity to main event it as well. Instead, this match begins the show, and Vince throws his B-show under the bus.
Thankfully though, the match was not all that bad. After some decent back-and-forth action, some minor outside interference by Brodus Clay (which was promptly stopped by the shockingly-still-a-face Christian), Edge holds on to the title with a forceful spear.
Edge is still champion, Christian is still face, and Del Rio goes from a heavy push to being absolutely buried. Makes sense.
Match Grade: 7/10
Singles Match: Cody Rhodes vs. Rey Mysterio
This was one that I was actually looking forward to.
Who would have thought that just one year ago, Rhodes and former Legacy teammate Ted DiBiase Jr. were facing the company's No. 2 face in a match? Rhodes has somewhat held his own, while DiBiase...well, I don't need to elaborate.
I had a feeling from the start that Rey would help in putting Cody over in this one, and I'm very glad he did. While the match put a little too much emphasis on the use of headgear and knee braces, a good showing from both performers with an enjoyable finish gave this one a surprisingly high grade in my mind.
I see a lot of potential in Rhodes as a contender down the line. We'll have to see where he is at this time next year. Speaking of this time next year, will Rey be there?
Match Grade: 7/10
8-Man Tag Match: Kane, Big Show, Santino Marella, and Kofi Kingston vs. The Corre
Even before this match substituted Kingston in for Kozlov, it had no place on this card. The Corre should have been involved in a feud with the Nexus, which had been teased prior to Orton taking them all out.
Instead, we get an absolute squash of a match, and the faces come out on top. The Corre, which was supposed to be a legitimate stable based off of power, force and resilience, gets manhandled. If Vince wanted to bury all four of those men, he did it.
Match Grade: 0/10
Singles Match: Randy Orton vs. CM Punk
Can someone explain to me how a match with a buildup that even kicked last Monday night was placed this low on the card, and given so little time?
Apparently, Orton and Punk were made aware that these changes would be made over the weekend so that the main events would get more airtime, much to their anger. Justified anger, of course.
This feud was one of the few well-developed and interesting ones the PPV had going for it. Vince should be ashamed of himself that he let this one fall down, because the potential was enormous.
Nonetheless, a great showing as expected from both men. CM Punk is the real deal, and he is undoubtedly (in my mind) the best heel in all of the business. Orton continued to sell the knee well, and the constant shots of Punk's maniacal facial expression were epic. Though the finish was predictable and the match too short, Orton picked up the win with an absolute jaw-dropping RKO for the pinfall.
Match Grade: 7.5/10
Singles Match: Michael Cole (with Jack Swagger) vs. Jerry Lawler, Stone Cold Steve Austin as Special Guest Referee.
Last year, Vince McMahon squared off against Bret Hart in an oddity match, which became heavily anticipated. People were looking for a somewhat competitive match, but instead were subjected to a squash-fest that saw McMahon get the living daylights beat out of him by Hart, which was heavily panned.
This time around, we have a similar match. The buildup for this was given a tremendous amount of showtime, and even received some legitimate heat after Michael Cole posted an obscene joke on Twitter concerning play-by-play man Josh Matthews. Vince could have easily scheduled a beatdown in this one and gotten away with it this time around. Everybody wanted to see it.
Instead, Michael Cole, who resembled a 5'8" creamsicle, comes away with the victory via DQ after the anonymous GM claimed Stone Cold was too involved in the match. Even before Lawler actually brutalized Cole, the latter was remotely effective in the ring, controlling the action most of the match.
A true head-scratcher for sure. The only resolution that may come of this is that we may find out who this GM actually is, undoubtedly a heel at this point. Is there a chance Josh Matthews turns heel now too? Eh, who cares. At least J.R. was out to call it.
Match Grade: 5/10
No Holds Barred Match: The Undertaker vs. Triple H
It received the most hype. In many people's eyes, this should have been the main event. Instead, it is placed behind Snooki.
Nonetheless, for me, this was a question of not if the streak would end, but how much would Paul Levesque (Triple H) put himself over in this without actually winning. Even after the two iconic matches between Shawn Michaels and Taker in the past two years, there was no doubt in my mind that he would be the one who would come closest to ending the streak because of his ego.
My prediction was justified. Triple H hit three pedigrees, and controlled 95 percent of the match. He even hit a tombstone (after mimicking last year's finish, but role-reversed essentially), and for the first time in my life, I was the smallest of bit convinced the streak would end (to much disgust, of course).
However, despite my rambling, the match really was quite good. I even would call it a "spotfest," with the aerial dive over the top rope and slam off the table being two of my favorites. It was by far the most interesting of the night and featured good showings by guys who probably won't be able to walk for the next month.
Speaking of which, another way that Triple H still comes out on top, is that he was able to leave the ring on his own power. The Undertaker could not, and we won't be seeing him until November.
This was far from either of the HBK/Taker matches of the last two years, but still a very solid match.
Match Grade: 8/10
NOTE: It took The Undertaker 4:19 to make his way to the ring for the start.
6-Person Mixed Tag Match: Snooki, Trish Stratus, and John Morrison vs. LayCool and Dolph Ziggler (with Vicki Guerrero)
I understand that the celebrity involvement had to be thrown in, as it is for every WrestleMania. But with The Rock already as the host, was it necessary to bring in Snooki? Wasn't the WWE supposed to be PG-oriented?
Even so, I'm sure she did bring in some buys. She was actually somewhat impressive with her athleticism in her .3 seconds of action.
Useless match, which could have really showcased the talents of Morrison and Ziggler. The only true exciting part of this one was what Stratus was wearing.
Snooki picks up the pin, and all the other Divas in the company are buried.
Match Grade: 3/10
WWE Championship Match: The Miz (c) (with Alex Riley) vs. John Cena
I'll try to go in chronological order for this one.
It all began with an absolutely brilliant promo for The Miz. He literally was watching his career unfold before his eyes, and it put things into perspective how far he has come over the past 10 years. I am personally a big fan of the man, and marked out when the "Era of Awesomeness" began. He came out through a bunch of blown-up letters (I'll leave you to guess what they spelled out), and made his way to the ring.
Then came John Cena. I will say that many of us seem to forget he hasn't been the champion in 10 months, so he has not been quite as "super" as many suggest. Nonetheless, the only thing that made me believe he wouldn't walk out champion in this was the imminent interference by The Rock, which even so I thought would enable him to capture the title.
Cena came out to a chorus singing some obscure music (sorry, I'm agnostic), and he makes his way out not in purple, or orange, or magenta, or violet, or pink, but red. Whatever.
Despite this match receiving the biggest buildup, the crowd was entirely out of this match. There were several spots and near-falls in which there was no reaction from the audience at all. Even though it was one of the more technical matches the two have ever fought, it suffered badly from the well-known fact that it wouldn't be decided without the involvement of the guest host.
Initially, the match ended with a double-countout (which again, received no reaction from the crowd at all). The Miz retains. The Great One hits the ring, when the GM rings in. It doesn't matter what they think, though, and The Rock orders a restart.
With no time wasted, he connects with a Rock Bottom on Cena, allowing The Miz to get the pin and the win. This is followed by getting nailed with The People's Elbow, and The Rock is the only one left standing as WrestleMania goes off the air.
What did this accomplish?
For one, we're going to get a feud between these three. Will Cena start showing some heelish actions and side with The Miz to take down The Rock? Will they each face off individually? Who knows, but it was a lackluster main event which had too much riding on it.
Match Grade: 4/10
Ultimately, WrestleMania XXVII suffered from some seriously poor decisions by the booking crew. The decision to remove the U.S. Title match was a poor one, and replacing it with useless promos and match extensions was even worse.
There were only two championship matches on the card, an oddity for WrestleMania. Neither of them changed hands, and one of them took place at the start of the show. Additionally, the main event match failed to live up to the expectations and hype it gathered, making the case of one of the worst WrestleMania main events of all time. Throw in the disappointment with Lawler-Cole and a few other useless matches, and we have problems.
WrestleMania XXVII was far from memorable. If it was memorable, it was for the wrong reasons. Though it featured some surprisingly decent matches and a very solid effort from two veterans, the show failed to live up to much of the hype that it may have generated, with the bad matches outweighing the good. Unfortunately, it will ultimately go in the books as a critical flop. Here's to Miami.
WrestleMania XXVII Grade: 5/10
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